If you leave or lose a job, the potential loss of health care can increase your uncertainty about the future. Fortunately, under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA), individuals who work for certain private-sector employers or government employees with 20 or more employees have the option of continuing to use their current employer’s group health insurance after an eligible event that separates them from their employer.
The eligible event may include dismissal for any reason other than serious misconduct or a reduction in working hours. However, you must have been covered by the plan the day before the qualifying event in which you lost coverage. In addition, the duration of coverage depends on when the qualifying event occurred. If your work has been terminated or your working time has been reduced, the coverage may take up to 18 months; If your job has been terminated or your working hours have been shortened and you have Medicare 18 months before the eligible event, COBRA insurance coverage will take up to 36 months after you are eligible for Medicare.
COBRA insurance is usually expensive because you have to pay the full premium, including the amount your employer has already paid on your behalf and up to 2% for administrative costs. As of the 2019 plan, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) “joint liability payment” was removed, for which you no longer pay a fine if you don’t have health insurance if you decide to revisit coBRA or other insurance options. However, if you can’t afford health insurance through COBRA but want health insurance, COBRA alternatives can work for your situation.
1- Short-term health insurance
You can take out short-term health insurance to bridge the gap between your current insurance and the insurance you receive from your new employer. The main advantage of this COBRA alternative is that you can apply quickly and get approval; It only takes 30 seconds to get an offer for a short-term online plan and the coverage often starts the day after the request. In addition, you can apply at any time, and not just during an open registration window, such as traditional health plans.
The plans are also among the cheapest alternatives to COBRA, but for a reason. Specifically, you can be rejected if you have an existing condition. Even if your health status has qualified you for insurance under this COBRA insurance option, you may not be able to cover certain essential health benefits, such as maternity care or mental health services.
In addition, short-term insurance coverage is only available in one month and less than a year, depending on the conditions you live in. In addition, the directive may impose a lifetime or annual dollar coverage limit, as it is not designed as a long-term solution.
Important: Many short-term health insurance policies are not eligible by Dena standards. This means that they may not include the robust basic health benefits required by ACA plans, but they can still help fill gaps in their coverage and help you pay more for COBRA insurance.
2- ACA Marketplace Health Insurance
ACA plans are one of the best alternatives to COBRA for those seeking comprehensive health insurance. Under the ACA, you are entitled to health insurance through the State Health Insurance Company “Market” or “Exchange”, which is a health purchase and registration plan managed by the State or the Federal Government, if State does not use From. You are entitled to ACA coverage if you are legally in the United States and are not in prison.
They may also be eligible for government grants that reduce or eliminate the cost of ACA insurance premiums. In all states, however, your income must be between 100% and 400% of the federal poverty line to be eligible.
Although you can specify your own premium service needs if you are covered during the Open ACA registration window, you can also request and receive financial support during a registration window. when a so-called qualifying life event occurs. For example, the loss of your job is counted as a qualifying event.
3- Independent health insurance
This alternative to COBRA insurance can be a good option if you don’t meet the income requirements to qualify for an ACA premium, but you want a more comprehensive plan than a short-term plan.
Independent health insurance is individual health insurance that you purchase from private insurance companies outside the ACA market. These plans are not eligible for Premium Support because they are not Marketplace plans. However, they can help you avoid higher bills, as you can often find policies that provide good coverage at lower costs than COBRA insurance.
These plans are a basis for pension provision and pre-existing conditions without imposing an annual cap on the dollar value of benefits it received. As with ACA plans, insurance policies can last as long as coverage is required as long as the insurer offers the same plan year after year. Prices can go up every year, but you can choose a plan with a deductible and a co-payment that best suits your needs.
Because these plans are not listed on the ACA market, search for them online or look for an insurance agent who specializes in independent health insurance. A good independent agent can tell you about a variety of competitive policies from different insurance companies.
4- Highly deductible health insurance
Whether you opt for independent health insurance, CAA or short-term health insurance as an alternative to COBRA insurance, choosing a sleepy plan usually reduces your monthly costs. These are plans that have a lower monthly premium but require you to pay more for the initial cost of health care, deductible, before the insurance company begins to pay for the coverage.
High plans are useful as an alternative to COBRA if you think you don’t use your insurance often, but want it in case of a case. This type of policy protects you from the highest health care costs, but you must pay the full cost of non-preventive visits to your doctor until you meet your deductible.
Consider this solution if you feel relatively healthy and are looking for ways to save money during a difficult financial period or in a year when you are planning other significant expenses. You can set up a tax-deductible savings vehicle known as a health savings account and a highly deductible account to increase your savings.
Note: For the year of the 2020 plan, the IRS defines a high-deductible health plan as a deductible plan of at least 1,400 dollars for individuals, or 2,800 dollars for families.
5-Consider using COBRA
Do not write COBRA insurance before taking into account the coverage you provide and at what cost. Sometimes the coverage offered can be completed, or you need this type of plan because your family depends on it or if you are in the middle of treatment and need continuity in the health care you see, and benefits q that you Get. If you choose a COBRA insurance alternative, avoid paying COBRA premiums, but you can also forgo life-saving health benefits.
When evaluating costs, you should carefully consider the monthly premium costs and direct costs of a COBRA plan when comparing it to COBRA insurance alternatives. In some cases, the cost of COBRA may also be cheaper than alternatives.
There is no need to make an immediate decision; COBRA gives you 60 days from the date you receive the COBRA election notification, until the date you want to lose coverage to determine if you need coverage. You can choose to wait until this time, if you know that you have another cover in 60 days, then you pay the premium if you end up needing insurance.
Choose the right alternative
To make the right decision for your health situation, take a close look at COBRA and the alternatives. If you want to avoid COBRA premiums, choose short-term health insurance if you are waiting for approval of another health insurance or marketplace or independent health insurance plan for more comprehensive coverage. Choose a highly deductible plan to keep costs down.
If you have a family, look for ways to join your spouse’s policy, or consider using different insurance plans for each family member based on the person’s history. Your goal should be to choose a plan that gives you the care your home needs when you need it, at a price you can afford.